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Police: Man Swiped Victims' Cash, Claiming He Could Fix Tickets, Get Them Jobs

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A man, posing as a Secretary of State supervisor, conned victims out of cash, claiming he could get them jobs and fix tickets.

Now, the alleged scammer is behind bars, CBS 2's Derrick Blakley reports

Hugo Torres told Jennifer Niemiera, a divorced mother of two, that he could get her a job with the secretary of state.

"I think he's a big con man, a con artist, a scammer," she said. "He said to wire him $100, that's for the entrance exam and then to give him a copy of my drivers' license, which i did."

Torres told Shanna Marie he could get her suspended license re-instated for $270.

"He was very believable," Marie said. "He did speak in a professional manner."

Torres posed as a supervisor at the Lexington Avenue DMV in Chicago.

Instead, investigators say, he's a Berwyn-based gang member who found an easy hustle targeting illegal immigrants.

"A lot of times, people are embarrassed," said Derrick Garcia, an investigator with the Secretary of State Police. "They have the feeling that hey, I got ripped off and I can't do anything about it."

But, the victims, who turned to private detective Michael Colella, had no problem with coming forward.

"The suspect would constantly, over and over and over, go after small amounts of money which turned into pretty big amounts of money," said Colella. "One of the victims was taken for just under $2,000."

The victims, admittedly gullible, but now looking for justice. The Secretary of State office investigated Torres for a year before arresting him this week.

"Looking back now, he played into what i wanted to hear," said Niemiera.

"I would like to see him pay back every person, not just me, but every person he's done this to," Marie said.

Torres faces a felony theft charge in Will County, and misdemeanor theft charges in Cook County. He's being held in Joliet on $50,000 bond.

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